Verkkoaho Farm at Koli Photographer Pentti Vänskä came to know Verkkoaho farm in the Koli fells in the early 1990s. At the time, its inhabitants were 95-year-old Heikki Nikolai (Nikola) Kukkonen (born 1897) and his six adult children. Everyday life on the farm followed the same pattern as in Nikola Kukkonen’s youth before the Second World War. In the summer, the cattle – of the East Finnish kyyttö breed – was milked in the pastures and their winter feed was gathered from outlying meadows.
In the winter, firewood was collected from the forest for the coming winter seasons. There was a great deal of work to do. The family was frugal and self-sufficient, respecting simplicity and listening to nature. Guests were always received in a happy and friendly way. Nikola Kukkonen died in 1996, shortly before he would have turned 100. After his death, many other things changed: the cattle were taken away from the farm and the elderly children of the family died. In the 2000s, a new farmhouse was built next the old one. Life goes on in the new house, now easier and more silent.
The photographs in the exhibition were taken at Verkkoaho farm in 1992 and 1993. The video was filmed in the summer of 2017.
Photos: Pentti Vänskä